GLENDALE, Colo. -- Two weeks after a FOX31 Problem Solvers investigation exposed numerous customers' concerns about the Denver dating agency Mile High Singles, one customer has won a default judgment in Arapahoe County small claims court.
John Black of Superior said he gives credit to the Problem Solvers for his victory because the director of Mile High Singles, Sheryl McDowell, refused to get out of her car at the Littleton courthouse.
"She decided she didn’t want to be talking to the press," said Black, one of several customers who have filed complaints against Mile High Singles with the Colorado Attorney General's Office.
They're complaining of deceptive sales practices and a membership database where half or more of the so-called members are listed as "inactive" meaning, they're not even available to date.
Black won the maximum amount allowed in small claims, $7,500 plus $110 in court costs, which still leaves him about $1,000 short of what he spent on the service.
"They charged me $8,500," Black said. "I didn't realize I was paying that. I thought I was paying $119.80, which is on their paperwork. ... It says total due today $119.80."
The contract shows that amount, but there's another page that says $8,395, though Black said he thought that additional amount was only due over the course of three years if he stayed with the service.
"I mean I never in my wildest dreams would've paid so much money, especially upfront, trusting that their service maybe would've delivered anything of value to me," Black said.
The Problem Solvers approached McDowell as she came to work one morning in early February, but she refused to answer any questions.
McDowell told a producer during an undercover interview that, "We're extremely selective who we send out the invitation to, only 52 percent receive the invite and of course I look for honesty."
In reality, Mile High Singles will extend a membership invitation to anyone it can convince to pay thousands of dollars up front for a service that isn't much different from Match.com, which only charges $20 to $30 a month.
The good news for Black is the small claims court judge awarded him a default judgment when McDowell refused to show up for the mediation hearing even though the judge gave her an extra 90 minutes.
"Part of me feels a little let down because I wanted to confront this person and say,' Hey, what is it you're doing to these people?'" Black said.
Collecting from Mile High Singles might be a new challenge for Black. The Problem Solvers emailed McDowell, but she refused to answer if her dating service would follow the judge's order and pay up.
"We are a legitimate business, and while we may have a few members that may not be completely satisfied with their decision to join Mile High Singles, we have tons that are very happy and have found success with us," the email read.
Mile High Singles used to be known as Great Expectations but changed its name a few years ago after affiliates in Arizona and Washington were cited for deceptive sales practices by the attorney generals of both states.
The Colorado Attorney General's Office won't comment on how many complaints it has received about Mile High Singles, but acknowledges it has taken no action against the Denver dating service.